The "Me"-centric Website of 2018
If there is one constant in web development, content, and marketing it is: It is forever changing!
You guys have heard me talking about this at ADS, one on one at Fast Start, or even phone calls when creating a roadmap for your website.
For the longest time the typical professional services site leads with ‘we.’ What we do, who we are, or why we exist. As a business trying to attract clients and promote itself, it’s an understandable, but now in 2018 a potentially costly mistake.
The truth is: In 2018 most prospects visiting your website don’t care that much about your organization. Yet!
They’ll care in time, but not before you’ve made them comfortable that you (a) understand their pain points and (b) can address their needs because you’ve done it for others just like them.
To bring in more ideal clients, let’s ditch the ‘we/us/our’ language and start demonstrating that we understand the world from our ideal customers’ perspective, the "ME"!
To start, optimize your homepage by highlighting the issues you solve for specific types of clients, thereby illustrating what’s a good fit for you and that you’re a good fit for them. Those that are not ideal will (mostly) weed themselves out.
Apply this to your offline sales process as well, and your business development efforts will be able to focus on moving better and best quality candidates through to close.
Identify What Matters to Your Prospects
Consider the role, motivation, pain points, and mindset of your ideal clients. These profiles become your buyer personas, which are integral to developing new business in literally any sector. Note that fleshing out a buyer persona will be fruitful if, and only if, your organization is clear about its marketing position. If you find that you cannot create a persona, even with this helpful customer persona generator resource by Hubspot, it’s likely time to take a step back to determine your niche and work on your positioning statement first.
Here we’ll focus on your homepage, where many prospects interact with your organization for the first time.
You only get one chance to make that first impression, right? So, how do you want prospects to feel when they land on your homepage? Like you really get them or that you’re offering a commodity?
When you’ve a developed at least one client persona, it will give you a clear idea of what you need to do to attract and retain your best customers. The process helps you fine-tune your approach to bring in those that are most profitable and/or add as much value to your business as you do to theirs. (Here, inherent value can look like a great case study that leads to new business, a project that your team is pumped to work on, or a foot in the door to larger opportunities.)
Develop Your Buyer Personas
A buyer persona should include your ideal customer’s age range, gender, job title, level of decision making or influence, motivation, mindset, goals/ideals, pain points and common questions.
Understanding what makes your ideal customers move, what makes them hesitate or hold back, and how you can provide value, helps to encourage a more meaningful dialogue. It can assuage fear, create common ground more quickly, and ultimately solidify the relationship that leads to a new account.
For a client-centered homepage, resist the temptation to cast a wide net. Instead, craft your messaging and leverage your media to resonate with your identified personas. Make sure that it’s up front (I promise not to say “above the fold”), clear (free of buzzwords and industry jargon), concise (short and to the point), and actionable (anything but “learn more”).
The Importance of Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Instill confidence from the beginning with supporting evidence like client testimonials, case studies—especially with quantifiable return on investment, or partnerships with well-known brands or clients.
Spark interest on your homepage and drive your UVP home by inviting conversation with simple calls to action, such as a demo or consultation request linked to your calendar, a chatbot, or a highly-visible phone number (click-to-call on mobile).
Test to Achieve “Perfection”—And Then Test Some More
Your SEO, copy, calls to action, and other website components should work to bring visitors to your site, and convert a portion of them into customers. These elements are far from static and the effectiveness of each varies according to your personas.
Along with your calls to action, test the various elements of your website to see which variations resonate best. Do so repeatedly, on a continuous basis. Even when satisfied with your results, keep testing your approach to see if more effective options emerge. This might sound daunting, but tools like Optimizely make this type of experimentation easy. Some might even call it fun!
With tools like these, team members can change content, imagery, calls to action, and other components on a site without having to log into the content management system itself. A percentage of your visitors will see each version of the site. From there, tests conducted for fifteen to thirty days at a time—based on your traffic—will give you the data you need to decide which versions of elements work best to drive conversions.
In order to level-up your business, your ideal client must be at the center. Avoid the pitfalls of ‘we/us/our’ on your homepage by focusing on the ideal ‘Me’. Align their needs with your value proposition, and have authentic conversations where you listen much more than talk. Only then can you move the needle in the direction of attracting better clients, attaining higher margins, and developing deeply valuable business relationships.